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Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays Hardcover – November 12, 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
The first section of the volume consists of six scholarly essays on writers like Zora Neale Hurston (one of her early literary inspirations), Nabokov and Barthes, George Eliot, E.M. Forster and Kafka. The most intriguing (and perhaps controversial) piece in this section is one entitled "Two Directions for the Novel," in which she contrasts the lyrical realism of Joseph O'Neill's lavishly praised NETHERLAND with her preference for the "constructive deconstruction" of English novelist Tom McCarthy's experimental REMAINDER.
Smith's lecture, "Speaking in Tongues," the highlight of a section entitled "Being," is a moving meditation delivered only a few weeks after the election of Barack Obama. More than any other essay in the collection, this one puts her dazzling talents on full display. In it, she moves gracefully from the story of shedding the accent of her birth ("Willesden was a big, colorful, working-class sea; Cambridge was a smaller, posher pond, and almost univocal; the literary world is a puddle.") to a discussion of Pygmalion, to an incisive dissection of Obama's memoir. Along the way, she discourses on such subjects as Shakespeare, the religious wars of 17th-century England and Cary Grant. None of this feels as if it's calculated to showcase her erudition.Read more ›
From The Creative Intelligence Blog by Orna Ross, author Lovers' Hollow & A Dance in Time
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I found these essays a mixed bag--some insightful and engaging, some not so much.
I did find them interesting enough that I listened all the way through.
I think Ms Smith is an extremely talented wordsmith but her essays can tend towards the precious.Published 21 months ago by Dan
Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays is categorized into five sections: Reading, Being, Seeing, Feeling, and Remembering. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Martina A. Nicolls
This book is confusing and uninteresting. Unless you have read the same obscure literary works referenced in each essay, it does not make sence and is not a good read. Read morePublished on August 23, 2014 by Annie Kroo